Tables turned by Halifax against Juniata

MIFFLINTOWN – Halifax starting pitcher Sam Cook had no problem with Juniata hitting the ball.

Cook scattered four hits in an extremely efficient 55-pitch complete game effort to beat the Indians 11-1 in a Tri-Valley League baseball game at Juniata High School on Thursday afternoon.

The game was the opposite of the game at Halifax where it was the Indians who forced Halifax to put the ball in play and make quick outs.

“We went over there and we beat them 8-3,” Beward said. “What you saw tonight was a flip-flop of what happened over there. Tonight we hit a lot of them right at people, (whereas they did last time).”

Halifax struck first in top half of the first inning. Dan Osenbach’s RBI single brought home the game’s first run for Halifax, which had a pair of first-inning singles sandwiched around Swartz’ first two strikeouts.

The Indians got the run right back in the bottom half on the first.

Swartz helped himself when he tripled to left field and scored on Dakhota Sweitzer’s sacrifice fly to center to even the game at 1-1.

The Juniata starter came right back in the top half of the second with a six-pitch inning, giving his club a chance to get right back in the box.

Unfortunately, Swartz’ counterpart nearly matched him, retiring the side on seven pitches that led to three straight grounders to shortstop.

A two-out walk jumpstarted a third-inning Halifax rally.

The catcher, Trey Pritchard, walked and scored on an RBI double by Koby Minnich before Osenbach struck again with his second RBI single of the day to make it 3-1.

Swartz got the Halifax third-baseman swinging for his fifth strikeout of the day to end the inning and strand two runners on base.

Swartz’ only walk of the day was issued to Halifax’s Koby Bowman, who came around to score the fourth Wildcat run for the visitors.

Two errors in the Juniata outfield prolonged the inning, resulting in two more runs to make it 6-1 after four inning of play.

“One thing that got us tonight was a lot of errors,” Beward said. “That typically wasn’t the way we’ve been playing. Lately, it’s been the hitting that’s hurting us, not the errors. We commit maybe an error or two a night tops. Tonight that was just not the case.”

The Indians’ starter was pulled after four innings after totaling 60 pitches and striking out five Halifax hitters.

“(Chantz) pitched well, and when we had the miscues, that changed the whole game,” Beward said. “(It took) the wind out of our sails.”

Joe Raker, who was a homer shy of the cycle, picked up his third hit of the day for Halifax in the seventh.

Pritchard’ sac fly to center plated Raker for the Wildcats’ 11th and final run of the day.

Three Juniata reserves went down in order in the seventh inning to end the game.

Swartz accounted for half of the Indians’ hits on the day, scored their only run and stole a base.

Juniata honored Andrew Boyer, Chad Eberle, Sweitzer, Jon Ruble and Aaron McNaughton on senior day.

“We weren’t ready to play today,” Beward said. “That’s on me – I didn’t have them ready.”

Juniata (4-9, 4-8 TVL) will pick up a suspended game at home against Greenwood on Monday.